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Bob Matthews' Column

SHAUN MICHEEL’S UPSET WIN IN 2003 PGA LOOKS EVEN BIGGER NOW

 
SHAUN MICHEEL’S UPSET WIN IN 2003 PGA LOOKS EVEN BIGGER NOW

SHAUN MICHEEL’S UPSET WIN IN 2003 PGA LOOKS EVEN BIGGER NOW


BASEBALL’S NEW NO. 1 AND NO.4 PROSPECTS LIKELY RED WINGS NEXT SEASON


BOB’S REVISED BASEBALL PENNANT PICKS: LOTS OF MOVEMENT


Shaun Micheel is among the 114 names on this week’s Preliminary Field List for the 2013 PGA Championship at Oak Hill next month.


What a difference 10 years has made in Micheel’s golf career.


When the 34-year-old native of Orlando, Fla., arrived in Rochester for the 85th PGA Championship at Oak Hill, he was winless in 163 career LPGA Tour starts and ranked 169th in the world. After a difficult practice round, he was hoping to simply make the cut.


But Micheel shocked the golf world – including himself – by taking a four-shot lead into the 16th hole of the third round. He bogeyed Saturday’s final three holes to drop to a tie with Chad Campbell entering Sunday’s final round.


On Sunday, with a one-shot lead over Campbell entering the 18th hole, he made the shoot of his life.


On his second shot, Micheel hit a 7-iron 175 yards, within two inches of the cup. He tapped in for a birdie to beat Campbell by 2 shots.


Micheel fired 69-68-69-70—276...Campbell 69-72-65-72—278.


Shortly after his unlikely victory, Micheel told reporters, “Up to a month or two ago, I was trying to keep my card. To have my name on that trophy, I don’t know what I’m thinking right now. I look down that list there (inscribed on the Wanamaker Trophy) and see all those names (past champions) and I just hope that maybe I can produce a career like a lot of those guys have.”


It hasn’t happened. In fact, Micheel probably is the most unlikely PGA player EVER to win a golf major.


He hadn’t won before – and he hasn’t won since.


Before winning the PGA Championship here in 2003, Micheel was 0x163 liftetime on the PGA Tour. He is 0x213 since.


In 377 career PGA Tour events, he has one first, one second (to Tiger Woods in the 2006 PGA Championship) and one third. He has 20 top-10 finishes and 57 top-25 finishes.


His PGA Championship performance line since winning here in 2003: t24th, MC (missed cut), t32nd, DNP (did not play), MC, t48th, t74th, MC.


This year, he has missed the cut and cashed no money in all seven of his starts – five on the Web.com Tour and two on the PGA Tour.


Presumably with his eye on a repeat of his miracle victory here 10 years ago, he played in last week’s PGA Tour John Deere Classic and is playing in this week’s PGA Tour Sanderson Farm Championship.


Micheel’s shot of a lifetime here in 2003 earned him a lifetime exemption to the PGA Championship. He won’t be among the favorites at Oak Hill August 8. And it will be an upset if he ever hits the leader board.


But he’ll be the only player in the 156-man field to have a PGA Championship at Oak Hill on his resume.


PLENTY OF FIREWORKS REMAIN IN MLB’S DIVISION RACES


Major League Baseball’s traditional All-Star Game “second half of the season” begins Friday night.


Five of the six division leaders have leads of 2 ½ games or fewer.


I expect to see lots plenty of jockeying for spots in the rest of July, August and November.


Here are my revised picks to win the divisions:


AL East – What a race... I like Tampa Bay’s starting pitching to be the difference...Boston and Baltimore likely will battle it out for third. The Orioles need to improve their pitching depth...Toronto figures to push the Yankees into last place...Can New York finish .500 or above if Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez both return for the stretch run? I don’t think so.


AL Central – Detroit figures to be pull away from Cleveland in a two-team race. Jim Leyland did a masterful job managing the AL in the All-Star Game -- much better than he has managed the Tigers this season...Kansas City, Minnesota and the White Sox should finish 3-4-5.


AL West – I believe Texas will be all out to edge the resourceful Oakland Athletics...The Angels are among the most disappointing teams ever...Seattle is much better than fifth-place Houston.


NL East – I’m surprised that Atlanta is 6 games up with such lousy production from the outfielders...Washington is running out of time and unlikely to overtake the Braves...The Phillies are a pretty good .500 team if there can be such a thing...The Mets deserve credit for their 41-50 record  considering their overall lack of talent...Miami is a joke.


NL Central – Am I overrating Cincinnati?...I make it the Reds, St. Louis and Pittsburgh 1-2-3...The Cubs are surprisingly decent...Milwaukee is surprisingly lousy.
NL West – I see the Los Angeles Dodgers running away with the division and representing the NL in the World Series... Colorado, Arizona, San Francisco and San Diego will be the also-rans.


BUXTON IS BASEBALL’S  NEW TOP PROSPECT


Soon-to-be Rochester Red Wings Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano took another big jump  this week on the list of baseball’s top prospects for major-league stardom.
Keith Law has raised center fielder Byron Buxton to No. 1 and third baseman Miguel Sano to No. 4 on his “50 Top Prospects Update.”


Buxton is 19 and playing at Fort Myers of the Advanced-A Florida State League. Sano, 20, is at New Britain of the Double-A Eastern League. Sano might be in Rochester’s starting lineup next Opening Day. Buxton could be a Red Wing by next summer.


The last time Rochester had two players with Buxton-Sano potential was 1970 with Bobby Grich and Don Baylor.


The rest of Law’s top-5 prospects are St. Louis CF Oscar Taveras No. 2, Boston SS Xander Bogaert No. 3, and Cleveland SS Francisco Lindor No. 5.


Minnesota has 3 other players among the top 41 prospects on the “updated” list: No. 30 right-handed pitcher Kohl Stewart (passed up a commitment to Texas A&M to back up Heisman Trophy-winning QB Johnny Manziel in favor of immediately becoming the best pitching prospect in the organization),  No. 38 right-handed pitcher Alex Mayer, and No. 41 second baseman Eddie Rosario.


SHORT SHOTS


LeBron James appears to be a lock to add the 2013 Hickok Belt to his trophy case. He this week was voted the Hickok Belt monthly winner for June. It was the third time this year that he has won the monthly award.  The balloting for June (in order):

LeBron James, Corey Crawford (Hockey), Yasiel Puig (baseball), Miguel Cabrera (baseball), Rafael Nadal (tennis), Serena Williams (tennis), Justin Rose (golf), Inbee Park (golf), Abby Wambach (soccer), Bartolo Colon (baseball).


Boxing returns to Frontier Field Thursday, August 8, with Hector Camacho Jr. taking on Lee Murtagh in the main event. Camacho 34, has a 56-5-1 career record and is a former WBC Caribbean Boxing Federation light middleweight champion. Murtagh, 39, has a 33-14 record and is billed as the light middleweight champion of Ireland. Tickets ($20, $30, $50 and $100) are available at Frontier Field, Ray Ray’s Bar, Mt. Hope Diner and the Future Boxing Club.


The big surprises in balloting for the WNBA All-Star Game is that a rookie led all players in fan balloting and that the rookie was not Britnney Griner. The honor went to Elena Delle Donne (Chicago Sky), the No. 2 overall pick (behind Griner) in the 2012 WNBA draft...The starting lineups: East – Delle Donne (Chicago), Epiphanny Prince (Chicago), Cappie Pondexter (New York), Angel McCoughtry (Atlanta) and Tamika Catchings (Indiana); West – Griner (Phoenix),Diana Taurasi (Phoenix),  Candace Parker (Los Angeles), Maya Moore (Minnesota) and Seimone Augustus (Minnesota)...The All-Star Game w ill be July 27 at the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut.
The 72-date live harness racing season at Batavia Downs begins Monday with a 6:30 p.m. post time. Renovations include a new video lottery terminal area (expected to open Aug. 30)  in the old Paddock Room...Racing will he held Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights in July. In August, racing switches to Sunday (1:15 p.m. post time), Wednesday, Friday and Saturday format. The season ends on Saturday, Dec. 7.


The AHL Calder Cup playoff championship trophy will be on display Friday, 6 to 8 p.m., at the Marina Restaurant and Bar in Charlotte. Owner Dennis Fico is a friend of former Amerk Nathan Paetsch, who  played for AHL champion Grand Rapids last season and will showing off the Cup.

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